The fight over whether or not to keep the state’s ill-advised Commerce Tax is already heating up — despite the fact that the Tax Department is being intentionally vague about the impact of the tax. (In fact, the department even goes so far as to claim it does not know how much it collects from each industry.) Clearly, the tax-and-spend elites in Nevada government fear the prospect of voters repealing such a big chunk of 2015’s massive tax hike. And why is the state’s government class so panicked? It’s simple: They know voters had already said “no” to this kind of tax, which was shoved down their throats anyway. (Read more)
Recently, far-left activists shut down yet another speaker at a college campus. This speaker, however, was not some extreme right-wing provocateur or “controversial” libertarian — it was the American Civil Liberties Union's Claire Gastañaga. Ironically, Claire had intended to speak about the value of the First Amendment. Robert Tracinski writes at TheFederalist.com that this attack on the freedom of speech is a sign that American “liberalism” is being destroyed by the very forces it has unleashed. In short, American “liberalism” is committing suicide. (Read more)
Civil Asset Forfeiture
The US Commission on Civil Rights has called for reform of the controversial practice of civil asset forfeiture — and it has done so by extensively referencing research conducted by the Nevada Policy Research Institute. Specifically, the Commission condemned forfeiture as having “racially disproportionate outcomes” that leaves most victims with “no practical way to contest the seizure of such assets.” To bolster their claims, the Commission directly referenced a groundbreaking NPRI research project from this summer. (Read more)
Aside from the constitutional issues confronting them, advocates of gun control face another big problem: Their supposed “solutions” don’t actually work. Statistician and news writer Leah Libresco used to be a strong advocate of increased firearm regulations. “Before I started researching gun deaths… I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly,” she wrote. But then something happened: she researched the issue for a project on effective gun-control policies. Her conclusion? “By the time we published our project, I didn’t believe in many of the interventions I’d heard politicians tout.” (Read more)
Advocates of higher minimum wage portray themselves as defenders of “the little guy.” Despite any good intentions, however, in practice they’re the exact opposite. Not only do higher minimum wage laws disproportionately hurt low-income and minority workers — California, for example, has seen single mothers suffer under its increased minimum wage — but such statutes also increase economic inequality and benefit large corporations by squeezing small competitors out of business. (Read more)
The State of Florida is threatening a woman with jail time if she doesn’t stop dispensing dietary and nutritional advice without a dietician license. As an active health coach, Heather Kokesch Del Castillo has been giving paying customers advice on diet for years — but a local dietitian decided to turn her in to the state, because she had failed to jump through the arbitrary bureaucratic hoops necessary to obtain a state-issued license. Becoming a licensed dietician in Florida, by the way, requires a bachelor's degree, 900 hours of supervised practice, completing a written test and paying various state fees. Ironically, the advice Heather gives her clients would be perfectly legal — without a license — if published in a book. As a “life coach,” however, the state says she has no such right without first asking permission from government. (Read more)
Does the above story on occupational licensing hit especially close to home?
As bad as some health coaches apparently have it in Florida, Nevada is unfortunately credited with some of the worst occupational licensing laws in the nation. In the Silver State, music therapists, landscapers and even interior decorators are required to obtain licenses from the government. In many cases, these requirements squeeze out aspiring entrepreneurs and low-income workers.
If you have experience with a ridiculous or burdensome licensing requirement, please let the Nevada Policy Research Institute know about it by emailing NPRI’s Policy Researcher Daniel Honchariw, at firstname.lastname@example.org.